Everything I Count as Loss

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” -Philippians 3:8

Paul could make this statement. Can we? We may sing about it, even pray about it–but as most people know, including me, it may still be too bold a statement to make about one’s own life.

The basis of Paul’s statement can be traced back to his confrontation with the Resurrected Christ. Prior to that time, he, Saul (not yet renamed Paul by Jesus) had been busily defending the old faith and the tradition of the fathers.

It was his pride and joy to be numbered among the most faithful. When he heard of people following this new Way (not yet identified by the name “Christian”), he turned his zeal to their extermination because it was polluting and damaging the faith of the fathers.

It was on Saul’s journey to Damascus to find and bind these “wrongheaded,” deluded souls that he was abruptly stopped by a bright light and an unfamiliar voice: “Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Recognizing that he was being confronted by the Lord, Saul asked shakily, “Who are You, Lord?” And the answer came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”! That did it for Paul. As soon as he regained his eyesight, he turned around 180 degrees. Jesus’ gracious conversion included a new name “Paul” to mark his new life. From that time on, his tremendous zeal was devoted to making known the Good News of Jesus.

Being a Christian in those days was risky, dangerous business. This letter to the Philippians was written years later by Paul who was now imprisoned for his witness of faith. The people who had come to know Jesus Christ through Paul’s preaching at Philippi had not forgotten their teacher. Paul, their spiritual father, wants these young Christians to know that God is still in charge, regardless of what happens to him or to them. I want you to know that what happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.” Moreover, as he recounts the course of his own life, he can say, “I count everything as nothing compared with the excellency of knowing Jesus as my Lord.”

Only those who have walked with Jesus over the hard ways, the rough roads, and the dark times can make this assertion. The world has nothing compared to what the love of God brings to the human heart.

O most loving Father, You will us to give thanks, for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of You, and to cast all our care on You, who cares for us; preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no cloud of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which You have manifested to us in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

In His Peace,
Pastor Schultz

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